Mixed feelings in Burbank ~ so excited to be here that I woke up at 2am, 3.30am and 5.30am ready to get the day started! But, as I was flying into Los Angelos yesterday, things back home were being ripped apart by 62 tornadoes. I got off the plane to find my phone blowing up.
/>In the interest of full disclosure, I've heard people talking about their phones blowing up and responded with a blank stare. I'm not quite so popular that my phone ever blows up. Yesterday, I found out exactly what it means - I came off the plane, turned on my phone and had approximately a BAzillion weather alerts, texts and voice mails. Obviously, my first thought was, "What the F??'
While I was flying the friendly skies, my homeland was being ravaged.
I'm super thankful to have accounted for all my pals - and super sad for the nearly two dozen lives that were lost. I'm grateful that my home was untouched - and thinking about the growing number of people who are without today. I'm on vacation feeling a little guilty - knowing that if I were in Raleigh today I'd probably already be volunteering at a shelter or with clean up. But, as many of my buddies have told me - I'm here, so enjoy it. And down times generate a need for laughter in my book. So the blog will go on as planned.
Yesterday's Adventures Across the Country:
I was up and on the way to the airport ON TIME for once. I have a gift at never leaving for the airport on time. This means I have made many mad dashes for gates and have been late picking up approximately everyone who has ever come to visit. But this time - I was out of the house by 7.30am.
Plenty of time. Heading up Eagle Trace. Turning onto Southall with hours to spare.
Until my ride and I noticed a pretend dog running through the streets. It was a Chihuahua. Collared. Scampering up and down a very busy interesection. Obviously we immediately stopped the car and went in full pursuit of Yo Quiero Taco Bell. Soon three more cars stopped to help. With each arriving superhero, we'd announce "That's not our dog", as if to prove we were way better than that. We'd never let our dogs (who are real and weigh more than a few ounces) run free like bandits in the old west.
The rescue mission was a fail. Said dog had no interest in being caught. We gave up and left the task to those with more determination.
We drove to the airport underneath the darkest clouds I've seen in ages. For a gal who is not a fan of bumpy flying, this was not a great sign. But I got my bagged checked in, through security, though a cup of coffee and to my prime spot in the boarding line - and still no rain.
I'd opted to purchase Early Boarding on Southwest this trip - hey, it's vacation - and dang if it wasn't worth every penny. I got the first row - the one with all the spare leg room. Which was lucky for my deceptively long limbs.
Now, one of my character sparkles is that - when I get nervous, I misplace my verbal filter. Which barely exists anyway. So, as the flight attendant was reviewing seat belts, exits - and then life preservers...I got a bit confused. And thought, "Ha, if we need a life preserver, I feel like the bigger issue might be that we're lost." I mean, we were flying from North Carolina to St. Louis, after all.
The bigger issue turned out to be that the thought was not a thought - but spoken out loud. Doh! No harm - Southwest is the airline with a sense of humor.
We were then prepared for take off - which was announced as being "Shuttle Style." Um, come again? In order to avoid the high winds, the pilot would be dropping the hammer and taking us up at the steepest angle he could. It was awesome - and jerky - but super quick. Well done.
The first hour or so of the flight was fine - I was relaxed, kept my cool, hung out with my seat peeps...
Then I checked my watch and realized that, as it was 11.30am, I was never going to make my 12.15pm connection. Again - the out-loudness thing happened. Which was fortunate because I was informed that we'd lost an hour flying to St. Louis. Lucky break!
Flying into St. Louis - I was the asshole on the plane who screamed "I SEE THE ARCH!!!". Causing the whole left side of the plane to press their faces into the tiny windows in their own attempt. Flying into St. Louis, I also noted how green every thing was this far south.
Turns out, St. Louis is not in the south. Turns out the whole reason Southwest keeps maps on their napkins is so those of us with no sense of geography can get a quick lesson at a moment's notice.
I made it! Flight One, check.
I was in the St. Louis airport approximately 30 seconds before starting shopping at the gift shop. Two t-shirts later, I got a pretty decent glare from security from leaving my bags unattended. My thing is - how unattended do they have to be to be truly unattended? I mean, I was ten feet away at the register - well within quick tackling distance should anyone have tampered with my stuff.
Onto the next flight. Where I started right off on the asshole foot by asking the pilot on my way in if he'd be flying us over the arch. So I could get my camera ready. We did not...
I did score the awesome seat again.
I think the crew was pretty psyched about that because every 1/2 hour I asked them what we were flying over now. As in, "Are those the Rockies?" and "Is that the Grand Canyon?" and "Why are there crop circles down there?" and "When will I be able to see the ocean?". It really didn't take them that long to stop saying, "Hang on and I'll ask the pilot."
And when we finally began our approach to LAX - the true hick came out of me in statements like, "Holy CRAP those a big buildings!" or "That city goes on forever!" or "Can anyone see the Hollywood sign?" or "Is that O.J.'s neighborhood?"
I bet Southwest is counting down the days until I'm back on board.
Within a half hour of arriving at my buddy's house, I was in the pool and working on my tan. The only glitch was the pool was about 40 degrees and my diving boards skills weren't what they used to be. But, the hypothermia is gone and the wounds on my foot are healing.
Today's tour - Olevaro Street - the founding point of LA. Tomorrow, Chelsea Lately. And maybe Tuesday. Wednesday, we've just reserved for The Price is Right. While I do hope to 'get on' the show, I also imagine I'd be the first contestant ever to get sucked under the showcase showdown wheel....which could be awkward. But would also save Southwest from a lot of awkward questions next weekend.